Redmen bring in a local commit to their 2017 class.
It’s a story that almost wasn’t for Umar Temoor, McGill’s newest linebacker from Cégep du Vieux-Montréal, but with a little bit of faith and hope, his football journey will continue onto the U Sports level.
His tale begins at the age of 12 when he was introduced to the good game of football by the mother of his good friend, Andrew Seinet. “She helped me with everything I needed,” Temoor said. “She gave me all the tools so I could succeed in this sport.”
And succeed he did. He played with the Saint-Laurent Spartans until the age of eighteen and shattered team records left, right and centre. He was a three-time Québec Midget Football League all-star and league defensive MVP. In 2014, he cemented his cégep career when he became a member of Les Spartiates du Cégep du Vieux-Montréal (RSEQ Division 1). He was named defensive MVP in his rookie year and won his first championship with the team.
In 2015, four games into his second season of cégep ball, Temoor’s football career was in jeopardy. He broke his knee, tearing his ACL, meniscus and partial MCL. Six months later, he found himself on the operating table. “I haven’t played since as I am on the road to recovery and still in rehab, getting ready for the big step,” he said.
His knee in shambles, his football career on the shelf, what else could possibly go wrong for Temoor? Well, his academic standing wasn’t faring too well either. Enter Claude Caouette. “He played with me for six years in Saint-Laurent and even played with me for Cégep du Vieux-Montréal,” Temoor said. “He helped with my studies because I wasn’t eligible for my first years. He helped me on those long nights, trying to get my homework and projects done, even in my college years.”
He added that, “He would train me, guide me. I would go to the track with him, go to the gym after practice. He was there for me, to push me.”
Caouette’s patience and dedication to his friend paid off. Now Temoor is set to attend one of Canada’s top universities. “I chose to go to McGill because after everything that happened with my knee and my academic situation, Head Coach Ron Hilaire still chose to help me,” Temoor said. “He told me to finish college when everybody else didn’t care for my future. They only wanted me because I was a good player.”
He added that, “I chose McGill so I can have a good diploma and even if I don’t make it professionally, I am still able to come out with a diploma from the best university in Canada.”
With his own experience with the fragility of football, Temoor is well aware that football is not forever. “I mean, football is football. I love football, but one day, football is going to say no to you due to the injuries and the effort it asks,” he said. “Football has opened a lot of doors for me. It’s the key to my success and until now, this key has only opened doors for me, never closed.”
It would have been easy for Temoor to lose faith after his injury, but the 5’11, 245lbs Montréaler never gave up. “I trusted the process and I think the McGill coaching staff is great. Since they changed the staff, only good things have happened and this team is very young,” he said.
“I mean, Head Coach Ron is a great persona and has a different way of rolling the game. I think he is doing a great job,” he added. “I am excited to see the difference I will make and how far this team can go. I am also excited for the next couple years.”
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